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Integration of Care in Northern Ontario: Patient Medical Homes, Rural Health Hubs and Evolving Ontario Health Teams
May 14, 2020 | Dr. Sarah-Lynn Newbery and Josée Malette
Appropriateness and accessibility are two important elements in an effective health care system. Indeed, over the past several years in Ontario, an effort has been made at many levels to transform the health care system to enable a greater focus on the elements of improved patient experience, improved patient and population outcomes and, improved system value and efficiency. The need for better population-based planning and care delivery organized around meeting the needs of a whole population has become more urgent.
In addition to outlining the primary care landscape in Northern Ontario as well as Ontario more generally, the authors explore two different models of care delivery: Patient Medical Home and Rural Health Hub. The former concept focuses more on who will provide care and how that care will be provided and coordinated within the primary care sector, whereas the Rural Health Hub focuses on how those services will be governed, funded and organized in a local context and across the sectors that exist locally.
The commentary finds that both concepts of the Patient Medical Home and the Rural Health Hub are mutually supporting concepts in the rural environment. The Rural Health Hub model, with its focus on governance and funding alignment, may provide necessary support to enable efficient and better-coordinated delivery of comprehensive, patient centred care across settings inclusive of the patient medical home in primary care in the rural environment.